It’s everywhere. There are no safe places. There’s no escaping it. It comes when and where we least expect and we can never be prepared enough for it.
It happens at work, in the canteen during lunch, when a friend from the Beijing office visiting the headquarters asks me in front of everyone: how about your baby? Where’s your baby? How come there’s no baby yet?, as she expected me to start trying 3 years ago when I finished my 2 years stationing period in Beijing. If only she knew that I did start trying 3 years ago… I answer simply: No baby yet, and ignore the puzzled eyes all around me in the lunch table waiting for more explanations.
Or when another friend comes back from her year long maternity leave and asks me on the corridor, what about you, any news?, as she knew we were trying and knew about the first 2 losses. To which I asnwer: well, I’ve lost 2 more babies since you left for mat leave. She replies, wow, I don’t know how you can handle it, but immeaditelly proceeds to tell me every detail of her labour and how it was the most horrible experience of her life (is this supposed to make me feel better about my losses, because it doesn’t really work).
Or when I get backed into a corner in the lady’s room by another colleague, asking me: have you heard about IVF? You probably qualify for public funded IVF, did you know? Have you tried? She pushes and pushes on the subject until I feel forced to tell her my whole story, even though I’m not close enough to her.
Or when I arrive at my desk to find a one year something toddler siting on my chair, playing with my stuff, drooling on my notes and feel forced to smile and play with him although I really just want to scream.
Or when another colleague, still in mat leave, brings her few months old child to the office and it somehow ends up in my arms, while all my colleagues are laughing and jokingly saying: be careful, it’s contagious (I so wish it was true).
Or when I’m at the quiropractor (because of general pains I get from tension and stress which always get worse after another loss) and she asks me what exercises I do, and when I say I’ve stopped running and only do yoga and walk as per doctor recommendation, she wants to know why. I try to say as nonchalantly as possible: we’re trying to have a child but we’ve lost 4 babies so far. She asks again, how many?, and after hearing 4 another time, she says, with little compassion on her voice, I guess that must be hard. I, trying to hold it together, answer simply, yes, it’s very hard. Which is followed by several minutes of awkward silence.
Or when I’m at Yoga class, hoping to relax a bit, and the instructor asks me: are you pregnant? (maybe due to gaining some weight since the last miscarriage) and after hearing no, continues to say: You have to tell me if you get pregnant, because there are exercises you can’t do. I feel extremelly embarrassed with all heads turned to me, not knowing what to say, when in reality I’ve been pregnant and miscarried twice since starting in this class. During the first minutes of guided relaxation, I can’t help but feel the tears rolling down my face, and just hope no one else is noticing it.
I could go on and on with more examples, but I’m sure we all have our own collection of similar situations. They can’t be avoided. It just feels exhausting sometimes.